Elm City locals bemoan excess campus noise

At a meeting of the Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team on Thursday evening, Ward 7 Alderwoman Frances “Bitsie” Clark had little sympathy for city residents who showed up to complain to the committee about drunken, rowdy Yale students.

“As annoyed as you are about these kids,” Clark told the assembled residents, “remember you were once that age, and did the same damn thing.”

A New Haven Police Department officer discusses the department’s new stance on public disturbance at a Thursday meeting.
Murphy Temple
A New Haven Police Department officer discusses the department’s new stance on public disturbance at a Thursday meeting.

The antics of the post-Toad’s crowd were among the principal topics that the committee and concerned citizens discussed at the meeting last night, held at the Omni Hotel. Also on the bill: The noise emanating from a host of Yale construction sites — sometimes until 12:30 a.m., according to one attendee.

Richard Wurtzel, a New Haven resident who lives in an apartment at 100 York St., said he is often bothered by noise coming from the street below on weekend nights.

The New Haven Police Department, which often uses sirens and yells at people over public-address systems, also contributes to the racket, he said.

“Around 2 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. every Thursday to Saturday, I hear boisterous swearing and arguments outside, often ensued by bullhorns from police cars … It’s getting ridiculous,” Wurtzel said. “But every time I bring it up at a meeting, the response is that police need to be using their emergency vehicles.

NHPD Lt. Martin Tchakirides, a member of the panel, acknowledged the residents’ complaints but responded that there is only so much he can do to contain noise with the department’s finite resources.

“We try to keep an eye on the hot spots,” he said. “But by the end of the night when the clubs break, it’s very chaotic, and several thousand kids dumping into the night drunk are too much for my officers to handle.”

Several other attendees echoed Wurtzel’s concerns, and also pointed the finger at Yale students and the businesses that cater to them as partly to blame for the disturbance on weekends. Others cited ongoing construction on campus as a chronic source of irritation and asked whether the University could reach an agreement with area residents to reduce the noise.

Clark, who said she had heard similar complaints about construction over the summer, said she thinks the source of residents’ frustration was a lack of communication between the city and its residents.

“Often we fail at letting people know about the construction schedules, so we have tried to improve this by institutionalizing projects so that we can better communicate about them,” she said.

Clark suggested that the construction management team start making publicly available a contact sheet for each construction project that lists the project’s schedule and construction manager, as well as working with the development commission to reduce these problems.

The next Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team community forum will be held Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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